Veterinary science

Veterinary science focuses on the wellbeing of our animal companions, merging compassion with cutting-edge knowledge to ensure their health and happiness.

Studying veterinary science is a commitment to safeguarding the health and welfare of animals, opening up many exciting career paths. As well as equipping you to nurture and heal our furry, feathered, and scaly friends, studying veterinary science can lead to many professional routes.

There are the traditional roles such as clinical practice, where you become trusted healers for pets and livestock, as well as emerging fields like veterinary research, contributing to groundbreaking discoveries. You can also explore opportunities in wildlife conservation, public health, pharmaceuticals, and even education if you’re passionate about the crossover between animal and human wellbeing.

As society places an increasing emphasis on animal care and ethical treatment, the demand for skilled veterinarians continues to grow, making this route not only fulfilling but also promising in terms of long-term career growth and positive impact.

The impact you could make
  • Promote the wellbeing of animals, ecosystems, and even public health.
  • Contribute to wildlife conservation efforts.
  • Create lasting positive effects on the health of our planet and its diverse inhabitants.
What you could study
  • Animal behaviour
  • Animal handling
  • Veterinary anatomy and physiology
  • Zoological medicine
  • Veterinary practical techniques
  • Infectious diseases
  • Wildlife conservation

Study options

Options to study in this field include:

Chat to a current veterinary science student

Chat to a current veterinary science student using UniBuddy.

Some conversation starters for you:

  1. Ask which modules they really enjoyed.
  2. Find out how easy it was for them to make friends on their course.
  3. Do they have any tips on your personal statement?
  4. Did they do anything to prep for uni before they went?
  5. Are there books, podcasts or YouTube channels they would recommend?

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Example module
“I really loved reproductive biology, endocrinology, and neuroanatomy. Next year I start the clinical years and learn more species specific aspects of each module and am very excited to start!”
Second year veterinary science student, University of Edinburgh
Example assignment
“I love doing the dissections in the lab of all the different systems found within the different animals! We got to compare different animals GI tracts and dissect them which was amazing.”
First year veterinary medicine and surgery student, University of Nottingham

Subjects it's useful to have studied first

Some veterinary science courses or apprenticeships will have requirements for previous qualifications in certain subjects. Entry requirements vary, so always check with the provider.

Hard skills you'll develop
  • Interpret diagnostic tests
  • Hands-on skills in surgical procedures
  • Various laboratory skills, such as conducting blood tests Maintaining accurate and detailed medical records
  • Respond to and manage emergency situations
Soft skills you'll develop
  • Adaptability in response to evolving veterinary practices
  • Empathy for both animal patients and their owners
  • Ability to make quick and sound decisions
  • Learn to handle high-pressure situations
  • Strong sense of ethical responsibility and integrity

Careers: Where it can take you

Find out more about your career prospects from studying veterinary science. The following information is based on a typical veterinary science professional role.

Available jobs
18,774 vacancies in the past year
8.04% growth over next eight years
Average salary
Up to £75,473

Career options

What is a…. wildlife veterinarian and conservationist

These professionals work on the front line of wildlife preservation, combining their medical expertise with a passion for biodiversity and environmental conservation. Wildlife veterinarians may find themselves involved in activities such as field research, conservation medicine, rescue and rehabilitation, education and advocacy, and zoo and exotic animal medicine. The variety in this profession makes it a fascinating and impactful career choice for anyone passionate about animals and the environment. 

Getting in: Entry requirements

Find out more about what you'll need to study veterinary science at university or as an apprenticeship.

Average requirements for undergraduate degrees

Entry requirements differ between university and course, but this should give you a guide to what is usually expected from veterinary science applicants.

A levels
Scottish Highers
Scottish Advanced Highers
Other Level 3/Level 6 qualifications (e.g. Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma or SQCF Level 6) may be accepted as an alternative
of students studying veterinary science would recommend the subject to others
(UCAS subject guide survey 2023)

Considering an apprenticeship?

Applying for an apprenticeship is just like applying for a normal job. Here’s what you need to know:
  1. Deadline

    Apprenticeships don't follow the same deadlines as applying to uni, the deadline is down to the employer.
  2. Where to apply

    You apply directly through the employer.
  3. No limits

    You're not restricted to one apprenticeship application; you can do as many as you like.
  4. Apply to university and apprenticeships

    There's nothing stopping you applying to university through UCAS, while also applying for apprenticeship vacancies.

Explore further

Go deeper into topics around veterinary science with the following:
  1. The Yorkshire Vet

    Watch the TV series to see real vets caring for animals in rural Yorkshire.
  2. The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

    Visit the RCVS website – setting, upholding and advancing the educational, ethical and clinical standards of veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses. 
  3. Animal charities

    Follow animal charities such as the RSPCA, Blue Cross and PDSA to keep up-to-date with animal welfare concerns.

Application advice

Whether it's personal statement tips or what to write in a cover letter for an apprenticeship application, our application advice will help you get ahead in your veterinary science journey.
Skills, experiences, and interests to mention
  • Have you got experience of working with animals, such as experience of working on farms, in kennels, stables, veterinary practices, or rescue centres?
  • Are you well informed and passionate about veterinary science, both as a subject and as a future career?
  • Can you explain why you think animal welfare and care is an important issue?
  • How can you demonstrate your empathy and compassion through the experiences you’ve had?
  • Your science grades, particularly in biology, will be really important in your personal statement.

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